Formation of a culture of innovation in scientific research and development | So Good News
Laurel: We talked a bit about culture in our conversation, but with a culture of innovation and collaboration comes productivity. So it’s the productivity of the technologies, it’s the productivity of the teams, it’s the productivity of the company. So, what productivity hurdles must be overcome to bring a good product to market?
Naga: I think what you’re talking about here, Laurel, is the performance hurdles of the product you have to bring to market. Productivity is always an important issue. I call that there are different levels of performance and performance should meet a certain level as an entry point. This is a requirement. So, in the solutions we offer, we always talk about speed, and we call speed performance, which refers to how fast our memory works. What is latency? For example, if you have a phone and you have a 5G connection, you want to be able to download things faster when you go online, store more of that information, and pay less for that phone. So, these are the features. And every phone we buy, we’ve gotten into the habit of buying a phone every year. And these phones should now be faster, have more memory, but are not expensive, have better battery life, and can load and run apps in parallel.
So when we look at performance, there are a few things in the spectrum of products that we define. One is performance/speed. Secondly, the power that we have to constantly reduce it. The third is the latency of constantly reducing it, increasing the overall efficiency of our hardware and software, which, as I said, can run more applications in parallel. And, ultimately, it still needs to be cost-effective so that we can go deeper with all of our customers around the world. When we first start the project, we call it a technology node every year. Bringing a new solution to the market every year is a difficult project for us. We usually work on a solution five years ago, we started a project five years ago, and for a memoir coming out next year, it started four years ago.
And then we start at this point, we define these features, and the first reaction is always, wow, I don’t know how to do this because nobody else has done it. We must first remove the barrier of the idea that it can’t be done, because the day we say it can’t be done, we stop progress and innovation. As scary as it may seem because there’s no such solution today, we look back and say, “Hey, we’ve been growing over the last 50, 60 years as a semiconductor industry. When the first transistors were invented, they probably never thought about today’s world.”
So the really big challenge is to first get over that thinking barrier and start changing the question, how do you do it from the statement that it can’t be done? And how to do it when the question changes? Now the idea starts to emerge and you start to choose which ideas have a high chance of success or how quickly they fail, and then you put it together into a plan and start working towards it. During those five years, we will have hundreds of failures, but we will have golden nuggets of success that will ultimately lead to better product performance. Although there are performance barriers that need to be overcome through technology solutions—new materials, new architectures, new designs, new hardware, new software solutions—the first step is overcoming the barrier of human thinking. Once we do that, the rest will follow.
Laurel: So we talked about a few things in our conversation today, and that culture is very important in collaboration and innovation. So how do you create a culture that truly enables future technological innovation?
Naga: Yes, that’s a very good question, Laurel, and a tough one, because I read somewhere that culture eats strategy for breakfast. It’s really driving not just companies, but societies, and whether it’s a culture around technological breakthroughs or a culture around diversity or a culture around sustainability. All of this requires us to invest in the next generation of inventors and people who will continue this culture. One of the things that keeps me up at night with technology challenges is – like I said, I’ve been in this industry for 21 years – and I’m looking at new hires that come with a lot of expertise on board. dreams today. The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we build the right culture for this team to learn now, but also start to develop their own culture for innovation in the future and how they support Micron. and the industry for the next 20 years, 25 years and should it continue?
And this is a big challenge. So, the main thing that we’re going to start doing here is start to build the story of how Micron has been successful in the industry for the last 45 years, 44 years. And it’s through innovation, it’s through technological advancements. It’s about being first to market with new ideas and starting to weave the conversation that innovation isn’t about the top or bottom line of the business. It’s also about how we make a difference in people’s lives. These innovations are important beyond a memory chip that gets hidden into the final device and works faster or better, but how does it change lives?